Small businesses in the U.S. are relying more on hyperlocal advertising as a route to finding new customers. Research by hyperlocal publisher, Street Fight, reveal that nearly half of small businesses surveyed said they were banking on local advertising campaigns to drive new customers through their doors.
But business owners are not using those small ads in business directories to make those gains happen. No, a much more tech-focused approach is being taken – one that involves hyperlocal mobile advertising and location-targeted services for engaging consumers when they are most receptive.
Location based advertising is big business. BIA Kelsey, trusted local media and advertising experts, are projecting a nine-fold jump in mobile local advertising revenues in the next five years. By 2016 they expect revenues to rocket to $5.8bn from today’s more reserved $644mn.
BIA Kelsey suggest small businesses will drive this change – partly on the back of initiatives like American Express’s ‘Small Business Saturday’, but more because high-access technology is making targeted consumer engagement easier.
What small business owners must do now is make sure they get on-board with this new easy-tech approach, as 2013 could be the year it really all comes together.
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Right Place. Right Time
Say you’ve just come out from a high-energy Zumba class at your local fitness center. You’re buzzing, but you need rehydration. A digital signage screen greets you on your way to the parking lot with the message: Joe’s Energy Drinks Cafe – 0.4km. Get 20% off with our drinks coupon. A QR code accompanies the message on the screen for you to scan.
Well, you’re going that way, and you sure do need that rehydration drink – and a 20% discount on anything is always welcome. So you scan the QR code with your smartphone, which directs you to the 20% digital coupon and a set of customized directions to get you there. You then head over to Joe’s to relax in the sunshine with your favorite drink and use the coupon to get your discount.
Sounds like a marketers dream, doesn’t it? Well, it’s no dream. Ads like this are up and running and bringing new customers to small businesses every day. They work because they’re in the right place at the right time, when customers are most receptive. Customers benefit as the ad engages them with a message they want to hear. Advertisers benefit because this sort of hyperlocal advertising is cheap and easy to run when the right technology is used.
A new breed of hyperlocal ad systems
There are now tech-based platforms available to small businesses that enable them to spread their marketing message locally using a combination of digital screens and QR codes. These new breed of intelligent hyperlocal advertising systems, such as the Locbit.com system, offer an easy self-service route to setting up and then managing a hyperlocal campaign utilizing digital screen networks in the local area.
The set-up and management process takes minutes to administer via an online dashboard. All that’s needed is a short-form marketing message and the URL of the landing page hosted on the business’s website to where customers scanning the ad’s QR code are directed.
It’s not an involved process by any stretch of the imagination. The QR codes themselves are generated by the hyperlocal ad platform, and the System handles placement of ads on screens in neighborhoods that the business has identified as being important.
For small businesses it makes hyperlocal advertising efficient and affordable. Business owners have full control over how much they spend to acquire a customer. So, much like a Google Adwords campaign, businesses set a maximum price per interaction with their digital screen ad, which is itself set within the scope of an overall budget for the hyperlocal campaign.
With ad interactions costing only a few cents to a couple of dollars, and businesses only being charged when an interaction happens, the whole system makes a huge lot of business sense.
Outdoor digital screen networks are becoming more and more a feature of daily life, and QR codes are becoming more familiar to the smartphone generation. Most of us have smartphones these days, so a system that uses all three to deliver a location-based ad experience is likely to open the floodgates to affordable small business marketing in 2013.